Opening the drives to get at the guts required the removal of four screws that lies underneath the label on the back of the drive.
On the back side of each PCB board is devoid of any component of note.
Around the other side we find all of the important bits. On the left is the 480GB drive, the center is the 240GB drive and on the right is the 120GB drive that has a more blue color board. There are thermal pads on most of the main components that you can see still stuck on in some places.
The 120GB drive as shown above, along with the 240GB and 480GB drives all feature SanDisk 19nm Toggle MLC NAND made by SanDisk. The 120GB drive has only four modules, each 32GB in capacity.
The 240GB drive has eight modules, each 32GB in capacity.
The 480GB drive has eight modules as well, but these each have a capacity of 64GB.
Each drive has a DRAM cache chip to support the processor. The 120GB drive has a Samsung cache with part number K4B4G1646B-HCK0 and is 128MB in capacity.
The 240GB drive has a 256MB Hynix cache with part number H5TQ2G63DFA
The 480GB drive also has the Samsung cache of 512MB.
Thanks to the thermal pad it’s a little tough to read but what we have is the Marvell 88SS9187 controller. Definitely faster than the previous version of the Marvell controller, it plays nice with the newer and smaller architecture NAND all the new drives are sporting. This is one of the few controllers currently offering AES 256-bit hardware encryption, avoiding any additional overhead software encryption may carry although SanDisk doesn’t mention this in their product overview so it may not be enabled.
It also supports tiered caching, or what SanDisk calls nCache utilizing the DRAM cache, SLC cache and MLC NAND storage. nCache accumulates small writes (segments) and then flushes them in a consolidated fashion to larger sections of the NAND flash array which all helps keep write amplification low.